Abstract expressionist Aelita Andre, age 4

Abstract painter Aelita Andre's first solo show in New York City opens June 4 at Agora Gallery. Aelita is 4 years old. "The Prodigy of Color: Aelita Andre / a Solo Exhibition"


  1. Baby Weems was another great artist, from 1940. He could paint, write, play music. Apparently a high fever put a stop to his talents. Does anyone remember Baby Weems today?

    Alan Ladd tells his story:

  2. Worth watching the documentary about Marla Olmstead titled “My Kid Could Paint That”. I actually preferred her work to that shown here, but at the same time think they both call into question the relevance of some abstract art.

  3. Yeah, um… seriously, isn’t this what four year olds do? Even if this IS legitimate art and she is legitimately putting an emotion to canvas… she’s four. What could she POSSIBLY have to express?

      1. Everyone poops.
        But not everybody can get a crowd of people to look at it, and spend millions. THAT takes talent! (Not necessarily artistry)

        1. If a 4 year old could promote herself like that, then I think you could make a case for real genius. But I think it’s more an example of child beauty pageant for cultural elites. I don’t see any harm in this. But my first reaction is that this video was a brilliantly constructed practical joke. The cues so subtle, so polished. I can’t imagine putting a video like that together and not smirking the whole time.

  4. They’re going to have to have a mighty big refrigerator to hang those large canvases upon.

    As for me, I’m wondering when somebody’s actually going to pop out a prodigy engineer, mechanic, or lawyer (historically, hasn’t there been a couple of prodigy physicist-mathematicians already?).

  5. It might be interesting! I believe that I can remember my first literally self-aware thought. I was four years old, standing watching the bathtub fill and I thought to myself “My name is signsofrain and I’m four years old”

    You’re really starting to have a personality at that age… a visualization of the emotions and mentation of someone that age would have relevant things to communicate to all of us.

    But I pretty much have a hard time believing that there is any artistic intent behind her work. I wonder if that matters?

    1. I’ve often wondered about when exactly I was “self-aware”.

      All I can say for certain is that I saw self awareness rise in my son at almost exactly 2 years old. He may have had some sense of self prior to that, but 2 years old is when he really started to express it. He knew who he was, could point himself out in videos and say “ME!!!” while patting his chest excitedly. There was literally a flicker of recognition and suddenly watching our baby-videos was an exciting experience. He’s even able to anticipate when in a video he appears (remembers it from watching the video before).

      So, at 4, I would certainly say this little girl is a self aware human being capable of “expressing” herself. I’d argue that abstract art like this is completely worthless, but then again, I’ve had the same argument with people who think Jackson Pollock is a genius. I swear art history teachers take extreme offense at the idea that Pollack was just meaninglessly throwing paint at a canvas and calling it art – they tell you it’s abstracted images of forests and life, but I’m pretty sure it was a guy laughing his ass off that idiots were buying his splatter-art.

  6. It does seem, um, interesting that this “prodigy” is painting in a genre well-suited to 4 year olds. Or chimpanzees. Or, I don’t know, 4 year old chimpanzees. I mean, don’t get me wrong, you either like abstract expressionist art or you don’t and you can argue that great works of abstract impressionism take as much talent as great works in other categories. But if this 4 year old was painting something, anything, that didn’t look entirely derivative of Pollock (and I’m not suggesting that she even knows who he was) or similar artists then I might be mildly impressed.
    I suppose, on the flispide, at least she’s not eating the paint. So that’s gotta be a step in the right direction.

  7. At first I was >:[
    But then I was like :o

    If anyone should be an abstract expressionist, who better than a 4 year old?

    1. I agree! Who better than a 4 year old!
      She is consistent. Dont hate people, some 4 year old express themselves with tantrums and pulling down skirts.. she just paints. She grew up with it.

  8. It makes me wonder if almost any child could/would do the same thing given these materials, a place to do it, and parents that don’t mind the mess.

  9. I’m a prodigy/savant in an art medium or musical instrument that hasn’t been invented yet. I can just *feel* it.

    I mean… couldn’t there have been piano savants born before the invention of the piano? So I’m a Xyflogranzic genius… just born 1,209 years to soon…

  10. More importantly, look at that fabulous space she has for expressing herself! We should give every 4 year old such an opportunity. For most other kids, the pressure to conform has already started. They’re being pressured into coloring inside the lines, giving the correct answers when shown flashcards, and crap like that. Go Aelita’s parents!!

    1. Yes! The lesson I think we should be taking from this is that, once again, current teaching methods stifle rather than nurture. This child is merely exhibiting the innate talent many persons of her age are already equipped with. The key difference between and many other four-year-old geniuses is the presence of the parent/teacher/caregiver/whomever it is creating and maintaining the environment where she can truly excel.

    2. More importantly, look at that fabulous space she has for expressing herself! We should give every 4 year old such an opportunity. For most other kids, the pressure to conform has already started. They’re being pressured into coloring inside the lines, giving the correct answers when shown flashcards, and crap like that. Go Aelita’s parents!!

      I was actually thinking the exact opposite :)

      I mean, I guess there’s a fine line between encouraging your child’s creativity/growth and pathological my-kid-is-specialism, and I can’t help but wonder if her parents haven’t crossed that line.

      I had lots of pictures my kids made at that age hanging (fridge, etc.), but I’d like to think that if I had a kid who could paint phenomenally well I wouldn’t put her on display to the art world. I mean, we see this with child actors all the time, and it usually turns out very poorly.

      I know this is an uncharitable thought, but I can’t help but wonder if this isn’t perhaps more about her parents than about her. You know, the whole “ain’t my child special!” thing, run amok.

      1. Agreed. All kids should have the opportunity to do this. Nobody should pretend their kid is unique in this regard, which is what an art exhibition sort of implies.

    3. Damn, that’s a lot of money on each of those canvases. Hopefully they’ll sell and her parents can make their money back.

      I have kids. I cannot afford to spend thousands of dollars to allow them to explore like this. I think this really comes down to the parents being able to afford the supplies and a space to paint.

  11. The best part of this is the campy music and the ejaculatory spurts of paint. It makes me think of Youtube videos of cats with inspirational music.

    I admit I’ve long had trouble with some abstract art, but on some level I find I’m able to look at a piece of work and recognize it as Art (due disclaimer: whatever the hell “Art” is).

    This? This is spurts of paint on a canvas. I thought it looked pretty nice until it zoomed in on one of the canvases and you could see how the paint was caked on, crusty and layered. It suddenly became far less appealing once I was reminded of how…well, crummy it is.

    What I find more impressive (and important) is how much she obviously loves painting. Those canvases must take ages to paint, even with her method, and it’s mighty cool that a 4-year old can focus for that long on something.

    I just hope her parents get absolutely nothing for this, OR they put everything away for her to use later. If that’s all good, then carry on, mini Pink Jackson Pollack.

  12. The finished artworks do demonstrate an amount of restraint though. That’s something most 4 year olds I know don’t have (they’d just cover the whole canvas). I always wonder how much outside intervention there is with such young children/artists. I actually really like the work and find much of it evocative.

  13. I’m thrilled that she’s having creative fun and that her parents are in a position to be able to let her have so much open space and materials for that. She will probably actually develop in stronger neurological ways as a result.

    But it’s not art. She may have intent, she may be doing interesting experimental things with the media (at least experimental to her, which again is extremely valuable from a developmental perspective), and she may even be able to concoct a narrative to explain what she’s made. My kid did all that at four too. Those things don’t make it art.

    Art comes from a place of deeper understanding and a longing to question further. It comes from pain and anguish, a heart-wrenching need to express reality through often very unreal media. Art reflects experience. “Pretty” in and of itself is not art. There needs to be meaning and meaning must be derived from something that has been acutely real to the artist.

    It is possible that a four year old could have such experience, but what a horrid fate for a child that would be. Little girl in frilly clothes painting with so many parent-supplied materials does not know suffering. Which is at it should be.

    Sweet, but not art.

    1. I’m not trying to start a fight, but I think your definition of art is narrow.

      It is art.

      1. I agree with kylerconway. Suffering is THE motive behind art? I should hope it’s not the only reason we create…

    2. Art comes from a place of deeper understanding and a longing to question further. It comes from pain and anguish, a heart-wrenching need to express reality through often very unreal media. Art reflects experience. “Pretty” in and of itself is not art.

      Uh, sorry but no. I’m not one to try to pass my art as some astonishingly astute existential statements, BUT….

      I’ve studied art. I’ve dedicated my life to practicing and creating art since I could hold a pencil. I’m a professional illustrator. Most of the images I create by choice (not for a client) are because I find the subject appealing or amusing, or because I want to create something aesthetically pleasing. They usually aren’t about pain or anguish. I feel very happy, enthusiastic and content when I do art and it reflects into what I create. It is absolutely earnest and quite intense. I’m more into expressing pleasure, beauty, wonder or humour, but that doesn’t make it any less art.

      Positive and pleasurable experiences/emotions are absolutely valid for a balanced outlook on life and so is their artistic expression.

  14. Without context and intent, abstract expressionism fails. This is just a 4 year old messing around.

  15. I think her paintings are beautiful!

    She might also be an astronomically rare female human that’s a tetrochromat, with four types of cones. If so, she could be hero we so desperately need to challenge the nearly inevitable world domination of the mantis shrimp!

    We need to test her strike speed and punch strength, as well as her ability to curl up like a wheel to roll around.

  16. I think I pulled a muscle rolling my eyes so hard. One can only hope it’s a big, deadpan joke.

  17. I’m on board. I like abstract impressionism, if it’s good – and her pieces strike me as good. Watching her do her thing also increases my interest in her as an artist.

    My nephew is currently freaking out the whole family with his total dedication to songwriting at age 3.5. No one told him to do it, but his rhythm, pitch, creativity and most of all -focus- just seem out of the ordinary for a toddler. He wakes up in the morning declaring that today he will create a CD with 15 songs on it, and by dinner he has. I’m not saying his material is aces, I’m just saying that his process seems weirdly productive. (And a few of his tunes I can’t get out of my head.)

    I see the same focus with this girl, and that’s why I can’t write her off. I can’t wait to see what she’s doing at 10.

  18. ok, first off…I am an artist. Second off, I have always loathed abstract art and preferred impressionistic work. Monet, Manet, Cezanne…etc.

    I agree whole heartedly about many of the comments above. This is what EVERY 4 year old can and should be doing. Here’s a canvas, here’s some paint, have fun EXPLORING!

    That being said, what she is doing is beautiful; and yes, it is art.

    Should she have an exhibit? I do not think so.

    Exhibited art in my opinion should simply be art with precision. Advanced artistic skills in action.

    Just my thoughts, but she should NOT be discouraged, rather encouraged to be more precise and controlled in her use of color, shadow, form, and such.

  19. Whether it’s art or not doesn’t concern me. What concerns me is that we’re validating a 4 year old’s paint splatters with a gallery show in NYC. think about that people! what the hell is this world coming to!

  20. The question is not whether it is art. The real question is “Why does it matter?”

    It is a 4 year old. Given the resources, I would say that most of them could do something like this. It matters because someone told you it matters. This is the only thing at work here. Some person decided that a 4 year old could throw paint on a canvas and call it art.

    I however would only consider it art if the child herself signed it as being from all the 4 year olds, rather than claiming herself.

    There’s no great inspiration here, just a child having fun throwing paint in different ways. In the end, someone calls it art because they need to legitimize what the child is doing. Just let it be fun.

  21. I find these stories of AMAZING artists (be they incredibly young, or, y’know- wildlife) tedious in the extreme. Playing with paint is not the same thing as creating a viable piece of artwork. A record of childhood exhuberance, sure- but not a true, nuanced expression. I think this comes from a misunderstanding of abstract work- it is not simply playing with paint. There are many compositional and color elements that come into play and all must work together in order to make a successful piece. True, happy accidents do happen, but to attribute qualties that the work does not possess cheapens painting as a whole.

  22. This isn’t merely a misunderstanding about art, but more specifically a misunderstanding of Abstract Expressionism. The 4-year old is making a mess; it is accidentally beautiful (if you choose it to be). An Abstract Expressionist isn’t relying on accident at all – even if the uninitiated eye doesn’t discern the difference.

    See Stan Brakhage talk about Jackson Pollock:

    1. I have never been a big fan of purely abstract art. But I will say the first time I stood in front of an actual Pollock painting and gave it a couple minutes, I found that there was a visual “rhythm” that I had never seen when looking at prints of his work. I’m still not a big fan, but there is unquestionably something going on there and I assume that with more education and interest, I would find other abstract art more interesting as well.

      That said, I find it pretty hard to believe that IF this kid is doing anything that is beyond the capabilities of any 4-year old with access to paints and a studio, it’s likely pretty well guided by the parents (even if unconsciously).

  23. There’s a curious contradiction in what people want from these paintings. On the one hand they seem to embody a kind of pure creativity. People collect these works because they tap into the very same debased romantic notions of genius used to validate Abstract Expressionism in the first place. The cult of the child is just one variation on the need to free one’s true individual self from the shackles of a corrupt society, or whatever. In some accounts, Pollock et. al. strove to recover some childlike sensibilities in their work.

    But on the other hand child paintings can be held up as proof that modern art is all a big sham, literally enacting the old cliche, “my kid could do that.” So I guess when people appreciate this work they have to figure out how to reconcile both of these positions at the same time. They want to understand abstract art in terms of ‘expression,’ but they also understand that there’s something ridiculous about that. Or at least when adults try to do it.

    Maybe there would be fewer contradictions if there were a way to think about art that didn’t rely entirely on ‘expressing’ personal feelings.

  24. More proof the art world is full of idiots. All 4 year olds randomly throw paint around…

  25. I think that it’s amazing. It makes me quite jealous actually.
    If she is somehow capable of maintaining her child’s carefree perspective throughout her artistic life, then she will be truly blessed.

  26. come kindergarten she’ll already be looking down her nose at the other kid’s art projects. welcome to the art world.

  27. This kid clearly has talent and an aptitude for design, although I am not sure I would call her a prodigy just yet. Obviously she has some advantages that other 4 year olds with this predilection do not have. Her parents appear to have enough money to set up a lavish studio for her, they both have artistic talent which I am certain has aided the child. For example the bold all black and all red canvases, I doubt the child chose or prepared those.
    She is a beautiful kid with enthusiasm and talent for art. I hope to hell they teach her the most important rule which is NOT to take yourself so seriously or else we are going to end up with another Damien Hirst.

  28. A woman making baby talk to her lover, a toddler making baby talk to her mother, a hooker making baby talk to a john. They may sound similar but they are definitely not the same and unless you are totally naive you will not likely confuse them.

    Poured and spilled paint is beautiful up close, but when you pull back from the 4 yo.’s paintings the experience is not the same as stepping back from a Jackson Pollock.

    That being said, there are paintings out in galleries that use the abstract expressionist tool box that are as bad or worse than the girls work so she definitely has a chance of making bank on her mess.

  29. just sounding off as an “artist” myself, at times. It is art, and it isn’t. It’s all subjective. I have a hard time putting a child that age in a room full of paint and canvas, tell her to go nuts, then claim there is purpose behind it, and furthermore claim that the child is some kind of prodigy, when my children at similar ages, did similar things, as most would. Shame on me for not cashing in I guess. On the other hand, I think abstract artists get their toes stepped on when a child can blob paint just as well as they can. It’s all about perspective.

  30. tkahvesi nails it above, this is painting that incidentally looks like abstract expressionist art. And like similar chimp and elephant painting, it relies on that similarity and the aesthetic appeal to generate any attention beyond that of the pleased parents/zookeepers.

    The entire construct of this presentation, from the slick video, to the gallery opening, to the “prodigy” nomenclature, to the multicolored base canvases, to the shelvesful of paint is, like the “restraint” mentioned above, the direct result of adult intervention and manipulation.

    The question becomes, who’s doing the manipulating, and to what end? Agora Gallery is a pay-to-play space, an exhibition service provider. This is not curation, or critical recognition of genius at works; someone is paying several thousand dollars to show this toddler’s paintings there. Presumably, those paintings will be for sale.

    If someone loves one enough to pay whatever price is being asked, that’s their business. I’ve been collecting contemporary art for twenty years, and I think they’d be better off buying a few thousand dollars worth of art supplies and letting the kids have a crazy art weekend instead.

    1. So, if Agora Gallery is a pay-to-play space, then Aelita Andre is a 4 year old version of Rebecca Black.

      I Googled Agora Gallery and autocomplete came up with “Agora Gallery scam” and “Agora Gallery vanity”. This video could be part of the package that you get with the gallery, a documentary about your “genius” that you can link to from your Facebook page. Is this really meant to be taken seriously, or is it just for fun?

  31. I have to say after watching the whole video I’m a bit conflicted.

    On one hand – wow – that is an amazing creative space. I’m already dreaming up the “studio” I need to build in the back yard to give my son a similar place to create and play.

    On the other hand, I notice the paintings all around, tons of them, and it starts looking like….. Work?

    I guess it all comes down to the fine line between “painting for fun” and “forced child labor”. If she’s just exploring and enjoying her amazing creative space and her awesome parents encourage this, that’s fine. If on the other hand they’ve effectively locked her into said “creative” space and made her paint for hours and hours on end for profiteering (I assume they are selling these paintings based solely upon the number of works being completed), it becomes something different. That room shows an -insane- amount of work has been done within it….

  32. Perhaps its just my ignorance of abstract art, but I don’t see this as art. To me, art needs an intent to express something. If you are using materials to make something pretty or cool looking, that seems more like crafts. Don’t get me wrong – I think it’s awesome that this little girl has this great support for her painting, and I’m sure the intent to express will happen. But I don’t think she is an “abstract-expressionist” anymore than my daughter was a “novelist” back when she used to write random letters on paper. Being an artist involves mastery of the craft; to say that a child throwing paint on a canvas is worth a gallery showing rather devalues what many people already believe has little value (“My kid could paint that!”). Just my opinion, though. On the flip-side, there are plenty of “artists” who have their work in galleries who could take some lessons from this little girl. Thomas Kinkade springs to mind. I would rather display one of her splatters on my livingroom wall than one of his barftastic paintings.

  33. oy! the jealousy, envy; the not-so-suppressed hostility in these comments. what a collection of shallow douche bags.

    1. You are, of course, talking about those people who think this child is the artistic equivalent of Pollock, Rothko, Frankenthaler or Krasner.

  34. It’s art and it’s wonderful. This child is in the moment, tapping into universal collective themes. It’s zen. So many armchair critics and failed artistes weighing in who have nothing better to do than show their own cynical resentments. What a bunch of buzz-kills.

  35. Just a note: Agora Gallery in NY is a well-known “vanity gallery” (you get an exhibition by paying the gallery, not by being selected based on quality of work.) The concerning part about that to me is that it it seems to indicate parents seeking (and paying for) limelight, not a child doing what she loves who happens to have impressed people.

  36. Prodigy? OK. I’m inclined to think about photography by another well-off kid, Jacques Henry Lartigue. About the time he hit puberty, his imagery went downhill fast. Perhaps we’ll see what kind of a “prodigy” Aelita really is when she’s 13 or so.

  37. So you’re all judging the art based on the fact that she’s four? You could walk into a gallery and see this on the wall (along with others like it produced by adults) and want to pay $5000 to take it home because it speaks to you but WAIT! She’s four? Forget it then.

    Y’all are being ageist in the extreme. Maybe it is “what all 4 year olds do!” but then again, I bet if you tried it yours wouldn’t come out as nice. And that is something worth celebrating.

    By the way, Basquiat was black, and Artemesia Gentillesci was a WOMAN! So their stuff probably isn’t art either. What could a black guy and a woman possibly have to express?

    1. “So you’re all judging the art based on the fact that she’s four? You could walk into a gallery and see this on the wall (along with others like it produced by adults) and want to pay $5000 to take it home because it speaks to you but WAIT! She’s four? Forget it then.”

      Except that people aren’t. Jackson Pollock cornered the market on this 60 years ago. People really don’t pay big bucks for this type of work anymore unless it’s:
      A done by an already established/famous artist or
      B They are extremely clueless and suddenly incredibly wealthy.

  38. Only because it’s shown in a gallery in NYC it’s not rocking the art world there or in general. What a freak show!

    This is craft not art.

  39. A child of four could post more insightful blog comments about art.

    For a bunch of supposed ‘happy mutants’ and intelligent rational futurist 21st century creative people boingboing posters suuuure know how to channel the spirit of a 60 year old chartered accountant circa 1930

  40. Ignoring the cute child for a moment.

    Disgusting how the parents are exploiting their 4 year old for commercial purposes under the disguise of “art”. How exactly is shoving a camera into the face of a 4 year old and taking her cute ‘artwork’ on a roadshow different from child beauty pageants? (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Child_beauty_pageant) No, seriously, how is this different?

    Here we are as ‘normal’ parents unwilling to post pictures of our children’s foibles on Facebook, worried how we are inadvertantly invading their precious privacy against their will but under the disguise of ‘art’ it is, of course, fair and game to make a quick buck of the child’s play.

    To add insult to injury, those that point out the hypocrisies get called ‘shallow douche bags’. Goes to show that everything you agree with is right and true, everything I believe in is wrong and douchy.

  41. I echo the this-is not-art sentiment. Of course I’m a harsh critic. Just because it’s paint doesn’t make it art. Just because it’s drawn, doesn’t make it art; just because it’s a statue, doesn’t make it art; just because a 40 year old heroin addict worked hard on it doesn’t make it art, just because it was made by an accomplished artist, doesn’t make it art. Because it’s in a gallery in NYC, it’s probably NOT art. It’s probably craft. Craft is fine to turn a buck, but it’s not art. I can’t tell you what art is, but I can tell you what isn’t. But then I’m a harsh critic.

  42. I teach 4 year olds in a play-based and art-centered classroom and I have for the last 8 years. I can say beyond a shadow of a doubt that they are able of deep and creative thought, and deliberate creation of art. Giving my class free run with their art ends up with some exceptionally grown-up looking pieces. They become aware of the limited available of the paint, and take care to use it deliberately–even if it’s deliberately throwing it on a canvas. I have no doubt, especially after watching the video, that this little girl knows exactly what she is doing when she does it–and her gleeful expression is delightful to see! I wish more parents gave their kids free run with paint and canvas like this. It speaks volumes for the priority of their parenting. Even as parent, I don’t have the nerve to do this.

  43. Huh… well…

    1) “It took me four years to paint like Raphael, but a lifetime to paint like a child” – Picasso

    2) It’s hard for me to compare this person to Pollock and other modern artists, as their form of art came to be from the context of the times, and in some cases the processes was as important as the end result.

    3) Why is that child in anything but a white painters smock?

    4) That all said – some of it really is quite good. I am not sure ‘prodigy’ is appropriate, but her ability is beyond her age.

  44. I wish I was born to a rich family so my artwork could have been exhibited when I was four. Or… really any age.

  45. @Urizen I think a lot of the critique and cynicism here is coming from the part about the insane privilege attached to this entire scenario. Much of it is being expressed through focusing on the artifacts the kid is creating, but I have a strong feeling that if it weren’t for the trappings privilege (the huge studio space, the solo exhibition in a New York gallery, marketing the kid as a prodigy) many of these responses would be less harsh.

    Speaking from my own angle it’s definitely art, but so are the crayon drawings that kids that countless four year olds make every day.

  46. It’s also worth noting that the Agora Gallery is not your typical “NYC gallery.” Artists *pay* for representation, so it’s not as though this “prodigy” was invited to share her genius with the world.

  47. I must start out by saying she’s adorable.

    Say what you will but I like what I see. She is using so many methods to apply the paint; dunking her hands in it, gently pouring from a container, squeezing tubes, pouring from the original container, etc. Looking at some of the works I can clearly see her making judgements of her results, not just color and application but when to stop.

    I would have no problem making a wager that if the source wasn’t known there’d be at least some critics and “experts” who would have nice things to say about the work.

  48. “Rhythm” — exactly. Art, in general, is a game of setting up and then creatively breaking expectations. That can be done in abstracts, though usually at a different level.

    As someone who committed a fair amount of abstract art as a teen, I must say that a big part of the secret is (a) doing lots of experiments and (b) throwing away the ones that don’t work.

  49. There’s something deeper here. Really.

    When my daughter was 4, her art swirls had something to this quality, and I did go out and buy some nicer paints and canvasses (nothing huge, no expectations really). Just for fun because she loved doing it, and it also looked like she was putting thought into it, not just splashing paint around. I ended up framing several of the pieces and giving them to relatives and hanging them on our walls. I like abstract expressionism though I’m no expert; I think these hold up well.

    But HERE’S the interesting bit. By the time she hit 5, she’d grown out of it on her own. Her work became far more representational (stick figures and houses) and to be honest with myself, far far less frameable (though perfectly happy on the fridge, it’s those earlier ones that deserve the permanent place).

    So what is it about the effortless natural state of being 4 that has artists spending their careers trying to get back to it?

  50. if her was using crayons and construction paper we wouldn’t be having this conversation. the amount of canvas and supplies she is being fed is staggering. we’re talking thousands of dollars. i’m all for it, but given access to unlimited creative supplies and the time to use them, most kids would produce something interesting. this is situation where it’s privilege is allowing certain natural tendencies to be played out. i mean this 4 year old has a nicer studio than many professional working artists i’ve known. the fact that she has an entire room to herself, other than her bedroom, to do whatever she wants in is more than most kids have. i appreciate it and think some of her pieces are great, but believe that if all kids had the same access they’d all be producing amazing things.

    1. Exactly what I wanted to point out. I think all this mainly results from the (professional, aka ‘adult’) medium she’s using.

      I really wonder whether we’d been having this debate at all, if Aelita had been doing her ‘things’ with crayons instead of paint on canvases.
      If her work really stood out from other 4 year olds using crayons, then we could begin thinking about phrasing her as ‘prodigy’.

      If not, I would rather view this as something that could go down in art history books in the future, as one of the *inicidents* that well illustrates the end of abstract expressionism.

  51. also adding in that she’s got a lot of $$ in paint to splash around. She’s cute, yes it’s art, and yes, her upper middle class parent’s lifestyle gives her this opportunity. That’s life, it ain’t fair.

    I’m also suspecting it’s might be a joke.

    There is a point here however. We lose our child like way of looking at things, hence Picasso’s famous quote. It’s true.

  52. The kid loves to paint, so I say go for it.

    But prodigy? Not so sure about that.

    Same claims were made about Maria Olmstead, the feature of “My Kid Could Paint That,” whose work was not surprising similar. I’ll bet there would be more of these “prodigies” if there were more parents who gave their kids canvas and carte blanche to pour paint everywhere.

    If the New York art scene wants to declare it a miracle and pay over inflated prices for the work, so be it. She could use the money for college, I am sure, and those idiots need to be parted from their money.

  53. I agree with Squidfood. Artists spend a great deal of time trying to get back to that effortless act of making art and getting lost in the moment without so much thought of technique, historic, relevance or aesthetic.
    I am an artist myself, by talent and trade and I quite frankly feel jealous of the space and quantity of supplies this girl has access to! I have a little boy who is 5 and when he was just a tot I would sit him in his high chair and make up a little “easel” for him with 4 or 5 different colors. He really enjoyed it and he even made something worthy of framing. Kids love making art. It’s messy and there are no rules imposed upon them. They just get to express. Wasn’t it Picasso that said that all children are artists?
    I don’t believe that art has to come from angst. Making art is a very human activity. Even though a 4-year-old’s world is much less complex than a 44-year-old’s world, a 4-year-old is almost pretty much who they’re going to be. Many of us remember that age because it was the age we first realized that we were separate from our parents. We imagined, believed, created and experienced life as an autonomous person. We started to form relationships with people who were not related to us.
    Those of us who are parents understand just how sophisticated a 4-year-old and their thoughts can be! (speaking relatively). If art is determined by thought and intention, then I’d say this little girl is making art. Her intention may be to create colorful explosions that remind her of fireworks, etc. But we have to also keep in mind that abstract expressionism is more about the act and raw emotion than the actual work of art. This does fit what a 4-year-old would do.

  54. the only offense here is the implication that what this child does is exceptional (it’s not), that she’s a prodigy (it doesn’t look like she is), that her painting is more valuable than millions of other children’s painting (it certainly isn’t, but it’s always a mystery how an appearance of value is created)…

  55. Sure seems nice to have rich, supportive parents willing to give you a whole studio and lots of canvas(!), paint and marketing wizardry. Lucky girl gets to paint on $20-$80+ canvases right off the bat. And is that acrylic paint?! All most kids get is tempera, crayola markers and printer paper, even if they show artistic talent. The only thing that was handed to me was the back of my dad’s fist. If I got paint on my parents’ patio door, I would have been sent flying across the room. Sigh, if only we could give every child a rich, loving parent…

    In any case, with each painting going for US$5000-US$10000, this is a clever way to pay for the art school she’ll attend someday. If she makes more than her tuition and tops up her retirement fund too, the excess should be donated to less fortunate children who didn’t get a head start in life.

  56. The art is not the paintings created by a 4 year old. The art is the video showing a 4 year old painting.

  57. Shame on you folks. Of course this is art, in its purest expression. Art is not something we learn in college (and we most certainly don’t learn it in our public school system, which usually does not even recognize it as a priority). Art does not necessarily come from pain and angst; it can just as easily, and often more naturally, arise from joy. That being said, whatever gave you the idea that four year olds do not experience a variety of emotions, from love and joy, to sadness? Are we really so cynical and lacking in knowledge of child development that we believe four year olds are just blobs, with nothing to express? Sure, a lot of four-year-olds could create like this if they were given the opportunity, and it is unfortunate that most of them don’t have that chance. Calling this “abstract art” and saying that you don’t like abstract art is just silly. Most children don’t begin creating representational art until they are five or so. Before that time, art arises from a more pure impulse that Jackson Pollack had to get raging drunk in order to access and express.
    On a final note–the parents’ choice to celebrate and exhibit their child’s creations is helping to validate what this little girl is doing. How can that be bad, really? I wish my parents had done that for me. This differs from exhibiting one’s child in a beauty pageant in that the pageant draws attention to physical, surface beauty (usually judged by overly stylized and/or sexualized adult standards, as well as forcing children to compete with each other), while the art exhibit celebrates what the child herself has created. Is she, indeed, a prodigy? That hardly matters. What matters is that her parents have both the sensitivity AND the money to nourish their child’s talent.

  58. “Without explaining who Aelita was or about her age, her mother showed some examples of her art to the curator of an exhibition … he was … impressed … Once the identity of the artist was explained to him, he remained undaunted – the quality of the work proved that it should be included in the exhibition …”

    I’ll bet the unidentified curator who was “impressed” — if he or she actually exists — is breathing a sigh of relief about now. A little breathless PR, and poof, a curator who can’t tell the coached scribblings of a four-year-old from mature art is miraculously transformed into the genius who discovered a prodigy.

  59. The way i feel about this is that art evokes an emotion. If her paintings were not art, no one would care about this article and there would be no comments. So if it pisses you off that she’s only four and that her art looks like “your kid could do that”, then it’s an emotion, and she has succedded. It’s alllll subjective, especially to the viewer.

    Me personally, I do believe that she shows more maturity in her creations (I believe someone said something above about how other four year olds would just cover the whole canvas if given the opportunity). The compositions aren’t terrible and her color choices are more sophisticated that someone else her age. I did find it interesting to watch her paint. I’ve seen most children her age either stick to drawing figuratively (you know “this is my house, this is my dog, this is a flower”) or they grind down on the crayon as hard as they can with scribbles. But watching her, it does at times feel like she really is giving some thought to where she puts down what. It’s hard to tell, however, because not many four-year-olds are given the freedom that she has been given.

    But a prodigy? I lean more towards no. I mean, it’s not likely that she fully understands artistic elements that aren’t subjective, like form, space or line. She’s doing what any four-year-old given that amount of freedom and paint would do: slinging it everywhere. But to her, she is making art. Probably not exhibition worthy art, but art nonetheless.

  60. As a jaded artist who just graduated and got his BFA when I saw this post all it did was remind me why I abandoned traditional art mediums freshman year. I don’t have time to read all the comments but I just had to put my two cents in real quick. I don’t know the whole history of this child, but in a lot of ways she’s kinda like a child actor. Her success is the product of her parents investment… I don’t really care about the ‘is this art’ debate, because that’s just leads to an endless stream of bullsh**t. I’m more concerned with what’s gonna happen to this child as she gets older.

  61. This makes me wonder about analogous activities which, if a child performed them, would be difficult to characterize as unequivocally high in quality and indicative of actual talent. Virtuosity in playing an instrument can’t be faked. Ditto with writing skills, which require technique.

    In other words, I think no one would doubt that a 4yo child playing Bach on a piano or a guitar is a prodigy (or at least clearly in the discussion). Same for a 4yo child who can solve extremely difficult calculus problems. Where it gets dodgy is when the skill/work/product shows no evidence of any… well, mastery. Math has demonstrable principles and proofs. “Art” also has principles of some sort, be they rhythms or patterns or narratives. There is of course also irony, and reaction to these patterns and principles, which can be “art”, though with requisite referentiality or self-referentiality–i.e., the artist is aware of what she is doing.

    As for the desirability of the creative space, and how difficult it is to reach that space of creative freedom, that doesn’t obviate having the skill, knowledge, and techniques to actually create.

  62. Kudos to the parents who let their daughter explore her creativity, but claiming Aelita is anything but a creative 4 year old is presumptuous. Saddling her burden of “prodigy” is almost as bad as stifling her creativity all together.

  63. @stuiethegod: But what happens to those of us who DON’T follow our dreams and talents when we get older? Many, if not most, of us, receive many negative messages as we grow up, and that doesn’t help us, either.

  64. One of the top functions of great art is it’s ability to spark up a discussion. Her artwork has us debating the validity of art itself… well done miss! (It’s worth noting other peoples comments about the Agora gallery’s reputation as a vanity gallery, however)

  65. Wow. I sometimes wonder if the naysayers above are seeing the same paintings I am.

    The video is portentous, to be sure, and the pay-to-play gallery suspect. But the little girl’s talent is clearly exceptional, imo. Some of her canvases are mundane, some are extraordinary, but none of them look anything like what the 4-year-olds I’ve met could do. The discipline and vision are very un-childlike.

    Most 4-year-olds can’t sit still long enough to make more than one or two pictures. This kid seems deeply immersed in her work, with a high degree of self-confidence. Parents can open all the doors they want but the child herself has to walk through them.

    No…your child COULDN’T do this.

    1. I was able to make art like this when I was 4 years old, albeit with more humble materials. My parents were poor and never thought to take my art to a gallery. Life is not fair. Eat the rich.

  66. Regarding the little artist, I’m not big on dwelling on the ‘unsoundable depths’ of most artwork anyways and usually find dissections of existential art a bit cloying. It’s no different in this case…

    But I wouldn’t dismiss a 4 year-old’s capacity for insight and expression. I remember my childhood with great clarity (more so than my teenagehood; I blame hormonal havoc). Observing the world with a brand new, inexperienced mind was intense, with all senses flooded and engaged with new stimuli. Childhood is filled with epiphanies, discoveries and puzzlement so it’s reasonable to accept that children have a desire for expression and artistic experimentation. I find their vision and experience of the world both interesting and worthwhile.

    If anything, I often wish I could return to that state of mind again, because it was so engrossing and intriguing. I can somewhat retrieve a fraction of it if I travel to a very exotic place or learn something radically unfamiliar, but it is a lot more fleeting. And despite being quite creative, the only way I could fully access my full, unfettered childhood imagination would be doing hard drugs (not for me)…

    As long as this little girl is enjoying herself and loves getting lost in the colours, textures of the paint, that’s all I need to know. It’s a wonderful thing all by itself.

  67. Normally I would be skeptical, but after seeing that video, I must say that she does have a tactile mastery over her medium. But more importantly, at four children are so particular about whatever they do – if she weren’t portraying something she saw as beautiful, she wouldn’t finish until she were satisfied. How beautiful is it that this child is portraying her own pure and genuine idea of beauty through paint. Just think that this is what she considers beautiful – Isn’t that enough to make us want to look more closely at these paintings?

  68. I clicked on the comments link for this story in gleeful anticipation of seeing a handful of hilarious displays of “get off my lawn” assertions about what constitutes “real” art, mixed in with a greater number of enlightened views. Instead I came up against a brick wall of profoundly depressing, malicious, ignorant clichés from a site which I’d always imagined as being for those with a little more cultural intelligence, a little more compassion, and a little more imagination.

    I teach art at the collage level. I can draw and paint photo-realistically, and I also pursue lyrical abstraction. The fact that I can produce realism is not something which somehow justifies the abstractions. The abstractions would not somehow become not-art if they had been produced by someone who does not produce realism. I mention this, as it is “logic” commonly used by those who cannot understand abstract art, Andy Rooney giving a good example of that here, with regards to Picasso:

    I’ll allow that obscene amounts of money thrown around for some art can be a bit much, and I’ll allow that this girl’s level of talent may not justify the attention. I’ll also allow that arguments could be made about the girl’s intent, though she seems quite focused to me. Because I drew identifiable dinosaurs and tanks at that age, can we argue that I did not actually attempt to represent those things? Can you argue that a human, at any age, is not a complex ball of confusion and emotion? I will not argue as to whether or not this girl is making good art, or whether or not she is a prodigy, but I will argue that she, in her way, IS making art. As for any accidental elements, even realist artists use happy accidents. I see beautiful designs and compositions in cracks in the sidewalk and other such places all of the time. They are framed with my mind in the same way that a photographer frames with a camera. You may not realize that Ansel Adams made delightful abstract compositions by photographing close-ups of moss, leaves, dirt, pine cones, or whatever was available. Michelangelo instructed his students thusly:

    “…cast your glance on any walls dirty with such stains or walls made up of rock formations of different types. If you have to invent some scenes, you will be able to discover them there in diverse forms, in diverse landscapes, adorned with mountains, rivers, rocks, trees, extensive plains, valleys, and hills. You can even see different battle scenes and movements made up of unusual figures, faces with strange expressions, and myriad things which you can transform into a complete and proper form constituting part of similar walls and rocks. These are like the sound of bells, in whose tolling, you hear names and words that your imagination conjures up.”

    In the end, I might superficially liken abstract art to something like the “Magic Eye” optical illusions. Some people cannot manage to see the images in the “Magic Eye” illusions, but those of us who can know full well that they are there. Some might not be able to truly see all of what’s in Abstract Expressionist works or related styles, but make no mistake, the value is there.


    1. re: Jasper

      “I teach art at the collage level.”

      A good friend of mine is an artist and he’s glad he got a post doctorate to teach art, but, “Sam,” he says, “if you want to be an artist, just be an artist, don’t go to school for it, cause they’re just gonna teach you how to teach art.”

      Mind yer spellins Jasper.

  69. I think the best thing about this is as others have said, the freedom, being totally free to just play and have fun with what shes doing. So long as shes enjoying it, then even if her parents are selling works, i doubt she even really grasps the whole capitalist thing yet, so its of no bother to her.

    I often wish we were more free in our lives then we are. What i mean is that when you get to teenager years, it seems peer pressure comes into play. Its great shes innocent to the world, and able to be in the moments of creating the works… She’s going to love looking back at this time i hope.

    I was Stuck infront of the TV untill about the age of 14, when i awoke to thoughts that the world of books is something i should get into more, and try and travel as much as possible. 12 years later, im glad i got that sudden inspiration.

    I hope her all the best with her future.

  70. The comments of seething nerd envy being posted here are to be expected. I think it’s awesome she has patrons as cool as her parents. The point of art is freedom of expression.

  71. I think it’s wonderful that she’s being encouraged and everything, but the fact that her parents just happen to be professional artists is the only reason she’s a “prodigy” and not just a creative 4 year old. By all means, let her paint, encourage her creativity…and maybe use all that money not to pad her art school tuition fund, but perhaps to find and promote other “prodigies” that may not be found in professional art households. Fun, interesting to look at: absolutely. But the work of a genius? I’m not really qualified to say, but i doubt it. Time will tell.

  72. Has anyone noticed the names of the pieces, e.g. “Butterfly Nebula 1-4,” “Escape from the Cosmic Zoo,” “Lapis Lazuli”? If she in fact came up with those titles then I think it’s safe to say she’s a prodigy–or at least remarkably literate for her age. I’ve never thought that titles should be so crucially important for pieces of art, but it seemed significant to me that, even if she might be able to deliberately arrange the materials in a compelling way on canvas, she could not mentally organize them in the succinct way that only giving them a title could do.

  73. In post #97 I meant to write that I teach art at the college level, not the “collage” level. I do not teach collage, but I’m willing to have a go at it if anyone wants to hire me.

    Maybe we can have an argument about the validity of that medium as well. :D


  74. In the movie 6 Degrees of Separation the character played by Donald Sutherland does a monologue about this phenomenon.

    There is a transitional state around 4 years of age where kids go from random stuff to shapes of colour, but before trying out figurative stuff, which is really interesting, and has an intuitive composition and balance to it.

  75. This child is crafty, yes. Artistic? yes, every child is. But an artist? Not so much. Agree that that will be determined after a few more years. So the parents just happened to have a really good camera-person on hand for her “first canvas painting”? Really? What makes this artist/video appear to be authentic is 1) good camera work, 2) music that adds to the quality making it appear classy, and 3) LACK OF MOM AND DAD. I suspect that this wouldn’t come across quite the same way if mom and dad were in the video.

  76. Why shouldn’t we celebrate the expressions of children? The discussion whether something’s art is so early 20th century.
    Her joy is on those canvases. That joy translates to me, wonderful.

  77. Pretty much anyone who feels that abstraction for the sake of abstraction is deserving of attention and gallery space can go to the show a second time in my place. It’s one thing to encourage discovery and creativity, and another to market developmental results as a finished product.

    I see no amazing difference between this child’s discoveries and the discoveries of any other child given similar materials, and given there’s really only a 2-1 chance that professional abstract art is judged as better art than the same abstractness by an amateur and not-yet-fully developed mind, I don’t think this showing proves her prodigousness (as seen on BB – http://www.boingboing.net/2011/03/04/people-can-tell-the.html).

    I hope her parents are teaching her to advance rather than stagnate at splashes on canvas. Time will tell if she is actually a prodigy.

  78. This has got to be from The Onion News! HAHAH Imagine what dope, aside from her grandparents, is buying the art. Her art is as credible as harold camping’s predictions…

  79. There’s an Australian 60 minutes clip on youtube, from when she was two. Her art was exhibited in Australia then. She really has developed as an artist.

  80. Sam, I already corrected my typo with post #103.

    As for the value of art school, it depends on the school and the student. I’d say that your friend’s statement is false as a general statement. I’ve seen many people become exposed to new things and make giant leaps under the mentorship of good teachers. If a student isn’t self-motivated and does not take advantage of all of the opportunities for extra study and extra help, it is very likely that this student will benefit very little from school.

    The fact of the matter is that there is not a lot of room for people to make money in art. This is not the fault of art schools. Whether a person attends school or not, that person will likely have a difficult time making money as an artist. By your friend’s logic, we could say to the person who does not attend art school, “Don’t bother practicing art on your own, that’ll only help you learn to make art.”

    I’m not interested in identifying my school here, but it has produced numerous, successful working artists, some quite well known, some dead, some old, and some very young. The teachers take the advancement of the students very seriously. Every effort is made to expose the students to as much art, and as much of the craft involved, as possible, and that includes trips, overseas study, and so on. Sometimes class work involves doing real paying jobs. There is a system set up to counsel all graduates, for life, and help them find work. Several people in this graduating class have earned valuable grants.

    So again, it depends on the school and it depends on the student.

    As for the girl in the video, I don’t find most of what she makes to be especially interesting. I find the music in the video to be grating and manipulative. I think that the whole production has been designed to convince the world that she is some kind of prodigy, whereas she may just be a lucky kid enjoying the art-making process.

    1. Re: Jasper

      “The fact of the matter is that there is not a lot of room for people to make money in art. ”

      Oh, disagree. Did you see the Banksy documentary “Exit Through the Gift Shop”? That dude made boatloads of money. We can debate about wether that crap he sold was art (or even his art), but he did make money. All you got to do is know how to sell it. That guys art was 5% art (or craft) and 95% marketing. This kids art, which these chumps are loudly oohing and aahing over and RUSHING to defend is 1% art and 99% marketing on the parents part. A child painting abstracts made it onto bOINGbOING not for its merit but for it’s flash.

      I was in a group art show recently. I made an intricate piece but I wasn’t the only one that worked hard on their piece. But only one person got interviewed by the local paper, and that was a guy that rolled in and threw some crap together in a couple days. He was interviewed because of who he knew in the local art scene and not based on the merits of his piece.

      In short, in order for you to be an accomplished artist, you are required to be an excellent salesman. This kids parents have proven well equipped to sell their child to the highest bidder.

  81. Looking over the gallery on her website, I like what I see. While I did not find anything astounding (granted I only spent about 5 mins browsing), there was plenty of work that was very good, especially from when she was one and two years old (as her parents are now giving her decorative baubles to stick on her work, which has decreased their quality drastically). Of course, when I say “very good” I refer to the quality of aesthetic experience her work is capable of evoking within me, as opposed to the skill, talent, difficulty, intentionality, or whatever else of her work. Indeed, give any 1-3 year old an unlimited supply of high quality canvases and paints and some light adult guidance and supervision, and most of them would be able to (often, but most certainly not always – hence the unlimited supply of canvases) produce work that would be functionally indistinguishable from Aelita’s. From the above, four final conclusions emerge.

    1. It is great that her parents have the (significant) means and the sensitivity to let her imagination run wild. It is shameful that her parents have the (significant) means and base desire for fame to so actively promote her (and by extension themselves) as a prodigy/exceptional artist, which she does not seem to be.

    2. Good abstract expressionist artwork can be incredibly evocative. The production of good abstract expressionist artwork seems to depend almost exclusively on one’s liberation from conscious thought, rather than talent, technique or sophistication. As a result, very good abstract expressionist artwork can be quite simply produced by animals, very young children, and highly drug-addled adults, and is therefore unlikely to ever be ‘rare’. Nevertheless, its lack of rarity in no way impinges on the value of its aesthetic effect evoked. Indeed, rarity is only for snobs to care about.

    3. ‘High’ art has always been somewhat distorted by an overrepresentation of rich-but-stupid people whose interest in art started and ended in their ability to use it to one-up everyone else in their social circle. For the period of time when artists were forced to fundamentally rely on their technical mastery for the production of their works, this distortion was kept in check through the difficulty of attaining technical mastery and the ease of evaluating it. When people gradually started to realise that powerful aesthetic experiences could be evoked without recourse to technical mastery, this impact of this distortion began to rapidly grow, despite the fact that the realisation was perfectly valid. Due to this, luck, connections, and the capacity for self-promotion play at least as an important a role in today’s art world as talent or mastery.

    4. The summits of today’s art scene are home to plenty of work much worse (to my eye) than Aelita’s. That having been said, I by no means demand that my eye be the final arbiter of what is universally good or bad in art. Indeed, I would be inclined to believe that such universality is impossible. This is not to say that everything is equal, however – if one believes something to be very good, one better be able to sensibly explain why one believes it to be good, and it is better if people actually agree with the explanation. In other words, one would have to be able to consistently separate what one likes from what one does not like while ‘blind’ to the author, circumstance, etc.

  82. With art you have 1) the creator, 2) the art object, and 3) the audience. Some people believe that certain objects are inherently art. Something within the work itself makes it art. Some people believe that if an artist calls a thing art, then it is art. Others believe that if the audience believes a work is art, then it is art. Certainly we can have a blend of these determinations as well.

    Skill is recognisable, so it is an easy place to determine whether something might be art. Skill is an easy place to recognise prodigy. When an object is an outpouring of creativity in the moment, suddenly things are not so clear cut. If you are someone who wishes to be ABSOLUTELY right and to have the right to declare something ABSOLUTELY wrong, these fuzzy areas are going to be disturbing. Much easier to dismiss them as ABSOLUTELY wrong rather than spend some time with them just experiencing.

    I find prodigy a difficult determination. I remember being in the honors program at school. I remember how hard my parents pushed me once I joined that program. I remember other kids who committed suicide from the pressure. I was still grateful to have a place where I wasn’t being bullied by other kids for being smart. We can all do a lot…if we choose to do so and are willing to dedicate our time and focus to it. That choice in and of itself is exceptional.

    I like Aelita’s art. I enjoy watching her making it. I’m glad she’s in the world. I hope time and parents don’t rob her of her beginner’s mind joy. Aelita herself is a work of art.

  83. This would make it seem that art is defined by what materials are used to create it. Would anyone other than the parents consider this child a prodigy if she were using crayons and scrap paper, like most children? I see nothing to suggest this child is unusually talented. All I see is a typical child with atypical parents who obviously can spend thousands of dollars on supplies. If that was all the parents were doing, I would say it’s fantastic, but they are the ones promoting her as an artist. Should time reveal that she is not an art prodigy, I hope she can adjust to being an ordinary kid when the attention she is being given wains. The art community is rife with mediocrity that is well promoted because, after all, everyone needs to earn a living. Everyone except children, that is.

  84. I agree with Muse-Thalia and andrei.timoshenko. I am always puzzled how people come to absolute conclusions about what is and is not art. One of the first lessons in art is that there is no true formula to determine what is and what is not art. People are more than welcome to form their own opinions whether it is a matter of taste or principal, but you have to understand that in forming an opinion you are putting yourself in a place to be disagreed with. Let me put it this way, “Only Siths deal in absolutes.”
    It also boggles my mind as to how this video proves that the child is being taken advantage of. Jumping to conclusions without the hard facts isn’t something that is generally smiled upon in this forum.
    It makes me happy to see Aelita with this opportunity. She may not realize the gravity of it, but the very basic concept of Abstract Expressionism is that it is the undoing of the formality of classical techniques and representational art. What better way to undo the formalty of art than let the most innocent and naive of us all create it? Some abstract expressionists, like Paul Klee, admired and studied children’s art and let it influence their own work. One could say that makes Aelita’s work more genuinely abstract expressionism than Klee’s.
    I am impressed with what she is doing. I feel like a lot of 4 year olds would mix all those colors into a muddy mess. Aelita shows some incredible restraint and does seem to be making some deliberate choices in how she makes each piece. Good for her!

  85. art or not.. some are nice. some are eh. but how many artists out there do the same thing shes doing, whether it have emotion in it or not. i say, good for her, and lucky that she has such a great space to express herself in, rich parents who can provide that opportunity to her, and possibly a great future in art..ahead of her. if only we all were so lucky.

  86. As soon as she goes to school and starts learning the symbols that we use to represent the world, she will switch to drawing stick figures. (And if not I will scream that the parents are manipulating her). It’s a completely normal growth cycle that all children go through, and nearly all children would produce similar “art” given the same resources and encouragement.

  87. She is NOT a prodigy. If she were drawing things or painting things quite realistically without training I would think of her as being a prodigy. Abstract Expressionism is a ridiculous misnomer for “crap on a page” and I am sick to death of these “prodigies”. She is being marketed as a product in a market that sells this crap to people who want to believe they are into something important, but the emperor has no clothes people!!

    Art does NOT necessarily have to come from pain and anguish either. Art unfortunately has become such a gray fuzzy term, but a good way to define it is a SKILLED and WELL CRAFTED attempt to communicate an answer to a human question or tell a human story.

    This is spew on a piece of paper – NOT art – creativity YES – art NO. Should she be further encouraged? Yes with lessons in SKILLS and in the EDUCATION of her mind. We ALL express – but we are NOT all ARTISTS…

  88. For me art has to satisfy a certain tests to really be art and not just a 4 year old spreading paint on a canvas.

    The artist, prior to making the work, must say to themselves: I am going to create this art, X, and it will evoke Y in people that experience it. I would also accept that they start making X before they fully know what Y is…but they have an idea.

    Then they create X. It may not take shape exactly as they planned it but regardless they create the piece and do their best to evoke Y.

    Then they show it to people. People say, wow, that’s such a good representation of Y WITHOUT having to be told beforehand that X is meant to be about Y.

    Another way to put the above is that the artist must show evident skill in evoking a reaction they intend.

    I also have a place in my world for art that is simply photo-realistic. Though I guess then it’s more a craft than an art. Again though it’s about showing skill.

    1. I don’t think artists should give a fuck about how an eventual audience experience their art. If they don’t want to. People experience things differently.

      And sometimes things happen when you paint (or draw or dance or sing) that you never would have thought of beforehand which inspires you to do things and on and on it goes.

      Craftmanship is good and helpful though.

  89. It’s commendable that her parents are allowing her the space & opportunity to create without worrying about mess.

    That being said, she’s not a prodigy. She’s a four year old being allowed freedom of expression through art.

    Two other things:

    1) That’s a heck of a lot of clothes to ruin. How many people have that kind of disposable income to go through clothes like it’s nothing. Where’s her smock?

    2) What’s the story with putting eyeshadow on her? She’s FOUR.

  90. I’m not going to argue about whether or not this is art because that argument never goes well (I do think it is art though). I also think it’s great that a young girl is being encouraged to paint.

    That being said, it’s seems the only reason she’s getting all this attention is because her parents are rich and could provide her with the resources to paint and be exhibited. There are wonderful artists out there without the resources to show their work, so I object to the class privilege involved in this showcasing, not the little girl herself – she’s adorable and very creative.

    I also think (this is just my opinion!) that her work isn’t very skilled. Her paint application is interesting, but not technically advanced. Also, her compositions usually have an all-over quality, the eye isn’t led anywhere. There’s nothing wrong with painting like that, but it’s been done before.

    I don’t dislike this girl, and I’m happy she enjoys making artwork so much. But I do wish other artists were afforded the same oppurtunities.

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